Preparing for Baby 2.0

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

It’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through growing this little baby and that in a few short months our lives will change significantly. It was about this time with my first pregnancy that I was freaking out about, well, just about everything. Having a baby, the money, having a baby, the money…you get my point. We had no idea what to expect. Part of my anxiety stemmed from that fact that with pregnancy #1 we were not in a great spot financially. I mean, our bills were getting paid but we paid very little attention to the ins and outs of our finances. We didn’t have a budget, let alone any emergency fund and I really had no idea what to expect when I started claiming my maternity benefits (and losing over 60% of my income…).

Thankfully a few months into my maternity leave I discovered an online niche I came to know as ‘’personal finance’’ and my life changed for the better. Not only were my eyes opened to so many things (like the beloved ER fund), it changed my relationship with money and allowed me to take control. In the last four years I’ve learned a lot, and it’s through these lessons I can blissfully take a second maternity leave, stress free. Here’s how we’re prepping financially for baby #2.

Use What We’ve Got and Fill in the Blanks

We were in a weird spot for a long time about if we would have more kids, but because of our uncertainly we held onto quite a few things. Given the lack of storage at our house, a lot of smaller/cheaper items like infant and children’s clothes we donated (keeping maybe the equivalent of two totes only) but we did hold onto all larger items like the crib, pack and play, tub, swing. Pretty much everything outside of clothes if very gender neutral which helps too since we don’t yet know what we’re having. The only things we really need this time are a car seat since our infant seat had expired (we scored one already for almost 60% off!), a diaper bag (I used my first one religiously until Maria was out of diapers/not changing her outfit four times per day due to mess, and it fell apart behind repair. Again already purchased online for $36.00 down from $215.00), and a new monitor since ours was always terrible and we just never got around to replacing (still need to buy).

The fact that we have so much starting out is a huge help. I did need to buy a few maternity clothing pieces since we’re in opposite pregnancy seasons and despite my effort looking second-hand, I eventually gave up when it was forecasting 30 degrees (Celsius) and I had no shorts that fit my ever-growing belly. I didn’t pay full price though and may have made three trips with the same discount coupon to save me the 50% on the outrageously expensive maternity clothing items.

Budget Better

As I said we’re in a much better spot financially, not only have we paid off tens of thousands of dollars in debt in the last four years and have a decent ER fund set aside, in general we manage our money better. We’re in the process now of looking into how things will change when I go off and what we need to prepare. We’re fortunate that our daycare situation is so flexible and willing to do whatever works for us too, a huge help since as it looks now, due to my professional licensing requirements for work I’ll be off five weeks earlier than I’d like and will probably pull her out of daycare for two full months then resume in the new year part time (I can’t justify paying a whole years’ worth of fees to work for 5 weeks, financially it makes zero sense).

Shifting Debt for Savings

Until I go off work and we have an idea of our finances, we’re going to temporarily suspend our extra debt payments and stash everything in savings instead. Once my maternity leave money starts coming in and we have an idea of how much we can budget, we’ll then throw it all on debt but in case something happens I want to know we have a cushion to fall back on (though having gone through the process once I don’t foresee anything major happening).

I’m genuinely looking forward to the next half of this pregnancy and meeting our new baby, just as a pregnancy should be. I’ll be honest, getting pregnant when we did certainly derailed a few of our financial goals temporarily but honestly, such is life. I know some people would be torn apart about it, but something I’ve definitely learned in the last four years is that defining your relationship with money is important, and for me, I never want to allow my relationship with money to take away from actually living my life, babies included.

How did you/will you prepare for kids?

How to Trade Successfully with a Small Trading Account

Invest Without a lot of MoneyStarting out with a small trading account can make things more difficult for new forex traders. While it is certainly possible to achieve success, it can make it harder for you to get into the appropriate mindset to become a successful trader.

There are common pitfalls you will want to avoid, by ensuring you focus on the right goals and be prepared to put in some hard work and discipline. While it may not be easy, there are ways in which you can grow a small account, while losing as little money along the way as possible. Read on to find out how you can trade successfully with a small trading account.

Be Content With Small Returns

Making consistent progress on your trading account is possible whether you start off with a little account or a large one. Some people start off their careers with over $100,000 in their account, only to lose all that money in a short space of time.

Others start with just $2,000 and consistently grow that amount over time until they have a sizeable account. It’s important that you understand early on that you don’t need to make huge returns to be considered a successful trader. If you can manage to make $200 a month consistently, then you are already successful.

While this amount may not be enough for you to live off of, it’s more about understanding how you can do well over the long term by being consistent with your trading and wins. Focus on increasing your success rate, rather than getting a big win. When it comes to a small account, it is even more important to be patient and prepared to grow slowly.

Focus on Becoming a Good Trader

When you start off with a small account, you can easily end up placing your focus on making as much money as you can as quickly as possible. While this is understandable, you need to concentrate on developing a strategy and mindset that will help you to make money consistently in the long run.

Turn your focus on trading the markets, rather than on bringing in the cash. Take your time to develop a winning strategy and learn about the forex market and market trends so that you can reduce your risk when trading and earn money on a more consistent basis. Try and avoid that feeling of urgency and need to make money as quickly as possible, as this can lead to over-trading and you can end up losing more money than you can afford.

You don’t have to worry about managing this with a small trading account. In fact, even if you have more capital at your disposal, you should still prove yourself first using a small amount. You need to be good at trading with a small amount before you can handle trading with a larger account. Focus on becoming a good trader first and foremost.

Keep a Trading Journal

The best way to grow a small account is to stay organized and become an expert record keeper. When you don’t have a significant amount of capital you can risk losing, then you need to be even more precise and careful with your trading. The simplest way to do this is to keep a forex trading journal.

This will help you to study your performance over time, so you can focus on building a consistent track record. Your trading performance is not going to be measured on the success of one or two trades. It will be based on a long series of trades, so it’s important that you keep a record of everything so that you can properly track your progress.

This is also important to help you remove any emotion you may be quick to attach to an individual trade. Just because you managed a big win, this time, doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen this way. Be disciplined, consistent, and make it a part of your trading routine. If you can consistently demonstrate that you can trade, you may even be able to use this proof to obtain additional funding for your trading account.

Conclusion

If you are starting off with a small forex trading account, then you need to ensure you are in the right mindset to grow your account and achieve long-term success. Focus on understanding the market, building the right strategies, getting consistent wins no matter how big the amount, and staying organized and disciplined. Before long, you will be able to grow that account into an excellent source of income.

Having Fun When You’re Broke.

TTRI admit that a lot of the things I enjoy doing for ‘’fun’’ involve spending money. I love eating out, I love going out for coffee with friends, I love farmers markets, I enjoy going to the gym, I love going on road trips, I enjoy concerts and theater…all of these things cost money. There was a time (multiple, if I’m being honest since the inception of my money-earning days) that I was broke but was still looking to have a good time.

I actually love(d) these days though. I mean don’t get me wrong, people don’t enjoy the feeling of being strapped for cash or not having an emergency fund in place, but given the opportunity you can learn a lot about yourself and really understanding your wants and needs when money becomes an issue. It was during these days that I learned how to have a good time without spending much, if any money at all. Even though money isn’t an issue anymore, these are things I still love and regularly practice today.

Board games

Growing up, cards was something I always enjoyed but I’ll be honest, playing board games wasn’t a big part of my childhood. As an adult though, when I was trying to plan an evening in (because going out was not an option!), I decided to ask friends to bring some games that that had, with them. I wanted something to do that wasn’t watching a movie or sitting around doing nothing. I loved them. It was that year that my husband and I really got into games. My husband’s family had always played games so he already owned a few, we just hadn’t done much together or with friends. Over the years we have acquired quite the board game collection. A few we’ve bought new, some in great shape at second hand stores and a few as gifts. We have our favorites (Catan and Ticket to Ride top the list) but we’re always looking to expand.

Having a game-night in is not only uber cheap, it’s incredibly fun. I can honestly say I would rather spend an evening in with friends playing games than out at a restaurant eating and drinking our bank account dry.

Walks and Hiking

Most of my life I’ve had access to a rec center membership. I really enjoyed going to the gym but a time came when we had to give the membership up, it just didn’t fit in our budget anymore. I relied mostly on walks and hikes to get my exercise in and guess what…I really honestly enjoyed it. I would usually go with my sister or a friend, we’d meet up and go for a decent 4-5km walk a few times per week. When I was on maternity leave, my daily walks were the key to me losing weight. I love finding new places to explore and enjoy getting caught up with friends or being with my own thoughts for a little while. Best of all, it’s free to walk, and it satisfied that ‘’I want to be in a coffee shop drinking coffee with you’’ itch.

Cooking

I have a funny relationship with cooking. I actually don’t enjoy cooking for just two adults, but love preparing a meal for a crowd. When going out to restaurants regularly wasn’t an option, not just for us but many friends too (babies, wedding and new homes do that to you), I started offering to cook in much more. I have become pretty good at feeding a crowd on a budget and really enjoy it. Combine with a few board games and you can have a pretty decent time for minimal cash spent. You can easily turn it into a potluck style meal as well to save even more.

There was a time where I really thought I needed to spend money to enjoy myself. I’m appreciative of the times when spending money wasn’t an option though, as I’ve really learned what it was I wanted out of those situations and can easily replicate for little to no actual money being spent.

What’s your favorite way to have fun without breaking the bank?

How to Ensure That You Are Being Treated Fairly by Debt Collectors

Good Debt vs. Bad DebtIt’s an unfortunate fact that the debt collection industry has a very negative reputation with most consumers. Stories about aggressive debt collectors are plentiful. Some of these stories talk about collectors who text and call debtors at all hours of the day and night. Others talk of collectors who hound the debtor’s family members, friends, and employers until they get what they want. There are debt collectors who are trying to fight this negative reputation and create a superior experience for both debtors and creditors. As the industry progresses to incorporate higher levels of debtor respect, you can get more informed about debt collection to serve as a self-advocate.

What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Do

The bad seeds in the debt collection industry tend to have one major characteristic in common: they are willing to take advantage of their target’s perceived ignorance to collect a debt. The average person isn’t necessarily familiar with the rules and regulations that surround the debt collection industry. As a result, some debt collectors think they can cross lines and break laws to collect debts—with the hope and expectation that debtors won’t report them for it. 

As such, if you find yourself up against a debt collector who you believe has crossed the line, remember that you do have rights, even if you owe a debt. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with those rights so you can demand proper treatment from any debt collectors who come your way.

The guidelines and regulations that debt collectors have to follow will vary a bit depending on your country. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission enforces the country’s debt collection guidelines. These guidelines have a lot in common but they are not completely identical. As such, it’s a good idea to read the debt guidelines that are enforced in your country so you know what your rights are.

Typically, debt collectors are barred from a variety of extreme practices, including but not limited to:

  • Contacting consumers at unreasonable hours (e.g. in the middle of the night)
  • Using physical force or threats of violence to collect debt
  • Communicating with debtors through use of profane language
  • Harassing consumers through excessively repetitious contact
  • Disclosing information about your affairs to third parties (including employers, family members, and friends)
  • Telling consumers that they have committed or are committing a crime by not paying a debt
  • Calling a debtor at work if the debtor has asked them to stop
  • Threatening consumers with lawsuits if they do not intend to sue (e.g. as an intimidation tactic)
  • Trespassing on the private property of the debtor
  • Withholding information about the debt in question (including the name of the creditor and the amount owed)
  • Failing to inform a debtor about what action they can take if they believe they are being pursued for a debt they do not owe
  • Collecting a debt without validating that the consumer actually owes money

A debt collector can contact you, and can use a variety of different channels to do so—including mail, phone, fax, and more. A debt collector can also take legal action against you if you owe a debt and refuse to pay. However, a debt collector should carry out these actions in a respectful and reserved fashion in accordance with all of the guidelines laid out above. If you believe that a debt collector is mistreating you or has violated the law, contact a personal attorney or local law enforcement for assistance.

Why Online Loans Should Be Your Go-To

laptop-762548_640Funding your small business is a challenge every entrepreneur faces at one point. Because this issue is so common, lots of potential funding solutions are available:

  • Traditional bank loans
  • Borrowing from friends and family
  • Angel investors and other venture capitalists
  • Relying on existing cash flow
  • Credit cards
  • Dipping into personal savings or home equity
  • Online loans for businesses

Every business is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, but, that said, online loans may be the closest thing. Online loans have a variety of advantages over other funding options, most of which speak directly to some of the most frustrating challenges faced by small business owners.

What is Online Lending?

Through the mid-2000s, lending on a business scale was in the domain of banks (with a small assist from the Small Business Administration). They were the only player and they set strict rules that were designed to limit their risk and maximize their profits. Applying for a small business loan was often complex, opaque and nerve-wracking. Receiving a small business loan usually included expensive initiation fees and processing charges in addition to the actual APR interest advertised or agreed upon.

As the economy began to fall into recession, banks began to focus their efforts on larger loans because the expense of administering a small versus a large loan is close to identical. That left small businesses without much in the way of funding resources.

Online loans rose thanks to a combination of improved web technologies, deregulation of financial services, and the growing demand among small businesses for some kind of funding alternative. At their core, they work like bank loans: an entity with money lets you use some of it and charges you for the privilege. But, from that core, they differ significantly from traditional options in ways that can really matter to a small business’ success.

How are Online Loans Different?

An online lender approves loans, provides funds, and administers the account in new ways. A summary of the features that differ from traditional lenders includes the following:

  • Online lenders do business via a website, as opposed to physical branches that are spread throughout the country. This saves on overhead, allowing the lender to charge less and risk more as compared to traditional banks and credit unions.
  • Online lenders analyze applicants and approve loans based on a number of metrics that are accessed instantaneously via the internet. These include traditional FICO scores that banks use, but also include income, industry trends and social proof. This new approach to approval makes it easier for qualified businesses to be approved and it turns the approval process from a weeks-long experience to a nearly instantaneous decision.
  • Online lenders deliver funds electronically, directly to the bank account from which a business will later pay off the loan. Without the intermediary steps that are often part of traditional lending, payment can hit your account within 24 business hours of approval.
  • Online lenders arrange for payment via automatic draft from the funded account according to a schedule agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. This minimizes their risk, allows for lower rates, and makes the payments hassle-free.

What is the Primary Benefit of Online Loans?

The main benefit of using an online lender is the approval process. Many (if not most) small businesses have issues getting approved for credit because they don’t qualify under traditional policies. Banks and credit unions either outright reject applications, or charge extra fees and interest to “justify” the risk of offering funding to these hard-to-approve applications.

Online business loans come from lenders who specialize in this exact type of situation. This means more funds available for your business at a lower rate than you would find otherwise.

The Bottom Line

Online lending may not right for every small business, but they are certainly an option worth investigating. Between the ease of application, wide range of providers, flexible structures and other benefits, online lending can come out as the best option in determining how to fund your business.

How Much ‘’Extra’’ Money Did You Need When Buying a House?

Buying a house is likely one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. After a conversation with friends over the weekend as we visited them in their new purchase, we started to discuss just how expensive those first few weeks post-move actually are.

When we bought our house, we were somewhat prepared for additional costs but like our friends, were totally unprepared for how much the bottom line actually ended up being.

Things we Remembered to Consider

Outside of costs associated with the actual house buying process, we were also prepared to buy the following:

  • Paint for rooms
  • New locks
  • Various furniture
  • Lawn mower/rake/shovel
  • Garbage can
  • Some home linens (more towels, hand towels for bathroom, sheets for new bed etc)

I say prepared but in all honesty we hadn’t done near enough homework on what exactly these things were going to cost us, just that we needed them. We set aside some money and hoped for the best. We were more than a little shocked when we went to buy new locks for the house and came to find out even cheap exterior door knobs could be close to $100 and paint quality and price is hugely variant. It was a big wake-up call to go to our first store, spend close to $700 and still not have everything we needed.

In the first few weeks there were many other things that crept up and we ended up buying, putting us well over the budgeted amount we set aside. Things we needed which didn’t factor in were:

  • Vacuum (not sure how this got through the cracks)
  • New broom/mop
  • Window treatments (the previous owners left some (which were hideous) but not all rooms were equipped)
  • Light fixtures and CFL bulbs
  • Paint supplies (over and above what we previously considered)
  • Our first Costco visit….we may have been a little overzealous with this one.

It was so long ago now that I honestly forget just how much more everything was but I know we spent way more than anticipated and this past weekend our friends were explaining their same experience.

Preventing it From Happening Again

If all goes well, we will be moving in the next two to three years. We were initially aiming to place our house on the market for late 2017/early 2018, but with baby 2.0 on the way it will likely delay us until end of 2018/early 2019 as I will be spending a year on maternity leave, but we haven’t yet figured the numbers out yet so we’ll see.

When we move, not only will we be much, much, more financially savvy, we will do way more homework to prevent another huge budget buster from happening again. It will also help that we will be moving from one house to another house with most things a house would need, where in move number one we moved from a small apartment to a house and were hugely unprepared.

When we look to buy our next house, we will have much more knowledge which will help. I plan on spending a few hours walking through the house before we even put an offer in, itemizing everything that we will want or need. I will do this with every house we consider since initial money needed may be the deciding factor.

Houses are expensive and sometimes I wish we didn’t have one but at the end of the day I really do love having a home of my own where my family can put permanent roots down and create some great memories.

Were you unprepared for your first home purchase?

Explaining How Maternity Leave Works in Canada

Since announcing our pregnancy last week, I’ve had a handful of people ask me about exactly how maternity leave works in Canada (minus the province of Quebec- things are slightly different). A lot of the world seems to be under the impression that we’re entitled to a full year off work at 100% of our income which isn’t (exactly) true. So I’m here today to try and set the record straight.

I am so grateful for the basic benefits which we are entitled to. Having already been through a maternity leave once, I do not understand how people handle these 8-12 week leaves. By 12 weeks you’re still very much bonding and getting into what should be a natural groove. I certainly didn’t have breastfeeding mastered until around then either, it just seems so unnatural to be away from you baby at such a young age. Maybe you’re used to it, or simply tolerate it out of necessity but it makes me sad.

In Canada, according to the government of Canada website, you qualify to receive federal Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits if you meet the following:

  • you are employed in insurable employment;
  • you meet the specific criteria for receiving EI maternity or parental benefits;
  • your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%; and
  • you have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period or, if you are a self-employed fisher, you have earned enough money during the qualifying period.

How it works is that your employer deducts EI premiums from your wages (this is NOT optional, if you have a job you must pay into these benefits). Again, directly from the site, in 2016, for every $100 you earn, your employer will deduct $1.88, until your annual earnings reach the maximum yearly insurable amount of $50,800. The maximum amount of premiums to be paid in 2016 is therefore $955.04.

Either biological parents or adoptive parents can claim the benefits. The 52 week period starts after the child is born or placed with you. On top of the maternity/parental benefits, if required, you are entitled to 15 weeks of sick leave should you be placed off work due to pregnancy related complications. The benefits can be claimed by either parent. Though it is most common to have the mom claim the benefits there’s no reason why dad can’t. Though you are allowed 52 weeks you do not have to take the full year off, you can take as little or as much as you want within this timeframe.

Should you meet the above criteria you can expect to receive 55% of your income to a maximum of $50,800. I earn more than this, so will receive the maximum benefit. Conversely, if you have a very low income (less than like $25,000/year) you qualify for more. Some employers will then ‘’top up’’ what you’re missing. Where I work for a private employer, I receive nothing in terms of additional top up, but some larger cooperation may offer something. A few examples are:

  • A friend of mine works for a major bank, she gets a ‘’top up’’ to 75% of her income for 6 months. After the 6 months she won’t receive any more top up and will just have the 55% federal EI benefit.
  • Another friend works for a hospital and will receive 90% top up for 6 months, then decrease to 75% for remaining time off.
  • I used to work for a large pharmacy chain and know they used to top you up to 85% of your wages for the full 12 months.
  • A friend of mine wanted to be off for 6 months with their baby but her job didn’t offer any top up but her husband’s job did, so she took 6 months at the 55% max and her husband took the remaining 6 months off also claiming the 55% plus his company topped him up to 80% for his 6 month leave. Though she would have loved to be home for the year, it didn’t make sense financially.
  • Some employers will top you up to the full 100% for all/partial time off.

So you can see, it really depends, but basically if you’re employed in Canada you’re likely entitled to the basic benefits of 55% of your income to the annual max (which is recalculated every year). Another huge part of having these benefits is that your job cannot be terminated while you’re off on maternity leave. They have to guarantee you will return to a job when your time is up.

I hope this helps explain a little more about how it works here. It’s not perfect but it’s better than a lot of other parts of the world. Scandinavian countries for example offer phenomenal parental benefits!

How did you manage time off when having kids?

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt
When you hear the word “debt” it sends a chill up your spine. However, debt does not always have to have that affect on you. While no one wants a crippling amount of debt, having no debt may be negatively affecting you. Everyone has heard of “good debt” and “bad debt” but what does it really mean?

Well, in the most simplest of terms, not all debt is created equally. There is good debt, bad debt and really bad debt. Not all of these are clear when you enter the loan or credit card agreement. Because not all kinds of debt are clearly labeled, many people have begun to avoid debt altogether, according to Get Lenny.

Where is the distinction between good debt and bad debt then? Well, if you speak to billionaire Warren Buffett, all debt is bad debt. Warren Buffett, however, can afford to not have any debt. Most of us will encounter some type of debt in our lifetime though. In fact, eight in 10 Americans are in debt but that doesn’t mean it is out of control and it doesn’t mean it is all bad.

What is Bad Debt?

Bad debt is generally debt that you’ve racked up buying things you didn’t necessarily need or things that would not serve you for the amount of time you’d be paying for them. For instance, if you and your friends hang out on the weekends and you always charge the expenses of your hangouts on your credit card. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem and wouldn’t be considered bad debt (as long as you can pay it off). It becomes bad debt when the credit card bill does not get paid in full one month. You begin paying interest on your credit card at that point and your hard-earned money is going out the window.

Another example of bad debt is a purchase that will not maintain or appreciate in value. These are loans for things like vehicles, technology purchases or furniture purchases. By the time you are done paying the item(s) off, they have depreciated in value so you’ve paid the upfront price, plus interest on items that will never be worth what you’ve paid for them.

What is Good Debt?

Now that we’ve established what bad debt is, what is good debt? Well, for some people, there is no such thing as good debt. However, there are some lines of credit that can actually increase your wealth. The best example of this is purchasing a home. If you are able to watch the real estate market and list your house during a time when the national benchmark annualized appreciation is higher than your interest rate, you will be able to sell your home and make money on it. This means you’ll be able to pay out the remainder on your loan and potentially walk away with tens of thousands of dollars.

Educational debt is also considered good debt to many people. This is because, in theory, you will be able to pay for your entire life’s expenses with the career you will have from going to school for four years. You will not only be able to pay your debt with your salary but you will also be able to pay your bills, save and build a life for yourself from your educational debt.

Though it can be hard to decipher between the two, debt has a place in 80 percent of Americans’ lives. Be careful where you choose to have your debts lie.

Do you have any “good” debt?

Does Debt Settlement Hurt My Credit Score?

sad-505857_640Facing an overdue debt can be a major frustration, and down right scary. Late payments and unmanageable balances are building up, possibly wreaking havoc on your life in general. If this sounds like you, a debt settlement arrangement might seem like a good idea, but many people are hesitant that it hurts their credit score. Rescue One Financial has a few points to make if you’re considering this option to regaining your financial freedom.

According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank, American households owe almost a trillion in credit card debt as of this year. Many households that make up this mountain of debt fall behind in making their payments and need some help to get out of debt. Settlement is typically an option for unsecured debts, like credit cards and medical bills, that aren’t backed by collateral. Debt settlement can be an excellent solution to the problem, but it depends on what you think is best for you.

End to Collections

Wouldn’t it be nice to put an end to those pesky phone calls?

With a completed settlement, your creditor is satisfied and has no need to keep pursuing you. As such, settlements stop the harassing phone calls, threats of lawsuits, ominous letters and stronger tactics like actual lawsuits or wage garnishments. Who needs that stress?

Significant Savings

Settling your debt can also save you money in the long run. It’s not unusual for creditors to take just a fraction of your balance to consider your account closed. When you take into account the fact that you’re frequently also erasing interest charges and late fees, this can add up to a large amount of money.

Damaged Credit 

One of the drawbacks people fear with debt settlement your is that it will damage your credit. Most creditors will put a notation on your credit report that the account was closed and that it was settled in full instead of paid in full. Any time you pay less than you borrowed (including interest) you damage your credit history and credit scores.

Making a payment or settlement doesn’t reset the clock and cause negative information to disappear. If your credit scores are already in the dump because you missed payments or the account was turned over to a collection agency, taking a settlement probably will have little or no additional negative effect on your credit scores. If your objective is simply to repay as little debt as possible, settling is the best route. Not to mention, the damage that a settlement will do to your credit pales next to what a bankruptcy would do.

How to Save Ink When You’re Printing Out Photos

photo-256887_640One of the great things about modern life is that we’re able to print out our own photos. Gone are the days when you’d return from holiday and dutifully hand in your film canisters at the developer before going home to wait for anything up to two weeks. Worst of all, you weren’t even sure how the images would turn out! Now you can crop and edit to your heart’s content before making your own images.

The downside is, however, that it can become expensive if you print out a lot of photos. Even smaller images use a lot of ink and ink cartridges aren’t always cheap. You can reduce the amount of ink you get through, though, which allows you to save money and to produce more photos for your walls. Read on to find out how you can do this.

Lower the saturation of your photos

Your photo saturation is the measure of how intense your colours are – how vividly they contrast with the white parts of the image. If your photos aren’t particularly vivid you won’t use as much ink. Many software packages for photos allow you to alter the saturation levels so that the final print doesn’t need as much ink as it would otherwise.

Print out in draft mode

Draft mode is occasionally called “toner saver”, “economy mode” or “print saver” and this option lets you print out in a lower resolution, which uses much less ink – you ordered that Canon ink @ Cartridge People and you’re going to make it last! Draft mode was originally designed to print out test images, for which image quality isn’t particularly important. If you’re using the image for a party invitation, or for a factsheet or similar, draft mode is ideal – you can switch up to high quality if you need to.

Go arty and print out in black and white

Black ink cartridges usually cost quite a bit less than colour cartridges so if you have some images that work well in black and white, give them a go. Switching to greyscale can save a lot of ink and money. Remember, you still have the digital memory, so you’re not committed to monochrome for ever!

Reduce the size of the image

Simply reducing the size of the image you’re printing saves on ink as it’s covering a smaller area. Just shrink the photo down when you’re in the editing package, or use your printer’s own editing functions. You’ll find that most printer models have a shrink-to-fit facility that fits the image to the size of the paper you’re using, or one that lets you reduce the size by a percentage.

Buy specialist photo ink

These photo ink cartridges are specially designed for printing out photos – as the name suggests! They are designed to use ink efficiently so that while they produce high quality images, they also do this in an affordable way. Not all printers accept this type of cartridge, though, so do check with the manufacturer of your printer before buying them – you’re supposed to be saving ink and money, after all!